SportsRantz and I thrive on brining you everything NASCAR; so why not put the spotlight on drivers throughout the NASCAR series. And that is just what I am doing and August’s spotlight driver is… Justin Johnson. And I had the privilege to interview Justin and got to know the man under the helmet.
Justin Johnson is the driver of the #51 Wounded Warrior/Vision Airlines Toyota Tundra for Vision Aviation Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. And unfortunately, like other teams throughout the truck series, Justin and his truck team haven’t been able to race as much as they would like this season due to funding and sponsoring. Justin did inform me that Jenna, his lovely wife, and him have been working hard to get more funding and they are looking at racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We are all hoping to see Justin and the #51 team back on the track.
While talking to Justin, I asked him various questions about which of his 100 career wins is his favorite, which of his 9 championships means the most to him, other insider questions about the NASCAR Cup Series and just more about Justin. So let’s get into the interview and get more out of our Spotlight Driver!
Justin has made his way up through the ranks to get to the Truck Series. And the road was a long, hard fought battle and he’s won many races and championships and today, we are learning which win and championship is Justin’s favorite. The Super Late model series is where you will find Justin’s favorite win and championship. Justin’s first super late model win is his favorite one. It was the Fall Classic Open Competition race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the Bull Ring. Justin told me that in this particular race you could have any size motor but you just had to add weight to the car to make competition even. This race sounds like it would have been a good one to see too! The championship that means the most to Justin is the one that took 7 years to accomplish and it’s his Super Late Model Championship. All of Justin’s hard work is all leading up to his ultimate goal of racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Justin and I talked about the Sprint Cup Series, the Wild Card and Points System, most and least favorite tracks, Watkins Glen and his racing hero. I asked Justin which team he would want to race for in the Sprint Cup Series and most people thought he would say Hendricks and I hate to let you down fans; but Justin said he would either go with Joe Gibbs racing or Penske. Why? Justin definitely referred to this as a big enginery game and the JGR and Penske teams are consistently running up front. Justin also said that he knows that it is a big task to fulfill but I have an extreme amount of faith in Justin that he will fulfill the task.
Like any driver, Justin has a favorite track and a least favorite track. And Bristol is the favorite. When I asked why, Justin graciously said that he’s never been to Bristol but will be there next week for the racing. Also with growing up with short track racing, naturally Justin likes the short tracks and Bristol is the monster of the short tracks. Justin really didn’t have a least favorite but he did say that he is not a huge fan of Darlington! I know most fans love Darlington but Justin has a good reason to dislike the track since his night there ended early with having bad luck and getting wrecked. And if it were me, I’d say that would be my least favorite too!
Justin’s Racing Hero? Well, that would be none other than Kyle Busch. Now, NASCAR and Justin Johnson fans don’t go throwing stones at Justin just yet! Kyle is Justin’s hero because the two grew up racing against each other and he knew Kyle previous to his fame and attitude. Justin made a point to also say he is not a fan of Kyle’s attitude but I suspect he is a huge fan of how Kyle races. With talking about Kyle Busch I asked Justin if he thought that Kyle could win the championship and Justin said “I think that they physically can win it” and I have to agree with Justin. But Justin told me he thinks that at the end of the year when the champion is announced we are all going to say, “How the hell did they do it?!” and he feels that there is going to be a mystery championship. Remember Folks, this has been the year of first time winners and anything can happen!
We talk about the points system as well. Justin likes how the Cup Series Points are and the Wild Card spots keeps everything on edge and how you can fall faster quicker if you have a mistake as well as there are teams that can sneak up there and really surprise everyone. I asked if he thought it would be a good idea for the other series to look into a similar points system and Justin said yes and no. Justin thinks it would be a lot harder for the Truck Series to adopt this points system based on the facts that there are a lot of under-funded truck teams and no one wants to see the same 12 teams fighting for the championship every year.
To round out my interview with Justin, we talked about the race at Watkins Glen and he weighed in and gave me his honest opinion on the Biffle vs. Said saga. Justin and I both agreed that Boris was running his race and unfortunately David Ragan (#6) didn’t give much room to run there and that is what naturally caused that wreck. Also, Justin didn’t think that Biffle should have held a grudge for that long either, stating “For Greg Biffle to be pissed off for over a year is ridiculous and it’s racing and it happens”. Justin definitely didn’t agree with the way Biffle handled the situation.
I did ask Justin another question about Put on the Brakes and he was kind enough to tell me more about the Charity and I am going to feature that in an article all on its own to do it the justice it deserves. Again, Justin Johnson is SportsRantz August Spotlight Driver of 2011. Thank you to Justin and Jenna-Marie Johnson for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk with me.